Troubleshooting a Problematic Toilet

by Lee Wyatt
(last updated November 11, 2019)

If there is one area of the bathroom, and perhaps the entire home, that sees the most attention of the plumber it has got to the toilet. Considering how easy it is to figure out what the major problem of a toilet is, it really leads one to ask why people don't do it more often. When troubleshooting a problematic toilet, all you really need to do is keep in mind these guidelines.

  • Check the water lines. One of the first places that you should look at when troubleshooting a problematic toilet is the water lines. Quite often the supply line will deteriorate over time, and as a result will end up creating a leak. When you do this, it also means that you should look at where the line meets the tank and the wall as those are the areas that typically see the most damage.
  • Look at the tank. As long as the supply line is working alright you will need to look at the tank itself. Look carefully to ensure that there are no cracks, chips, or dings in the tank that could allow some water to leak out. An easy way to tell if there is a leak or not is to run your hand over the tank and feel for any water.
  • Don't forget the bottom. When you are looking at the tank, you really need to remember to look at the bottom of the tank as well. For some reason, this particular part of the tank is often overlooked. Just as when you look at the rest of the tank, you should simply run your hand over it. If you notice any rough spots, or wet spots, take a closer look.
  • Look at the base of the toilet. One area that you really need to look at and inspect closely is the base of the toilet. If the seal is in any way damaged you can easily find yourself with a leak, or other potential problems.
  • Watch the water flush. Not all toilet problems are found along the exterior of your toilet. You absolutely must take a look at the water when it is flushed to see how it runs. If it is running slowly, then chances are very good that you have a clog or some other obstruction in the pipes that needs to be taken care of.
  • How is the ball float? Another common reason for toilet problems is that the ball float is not working correctly. Check to make sure that the lever is oiled and working properly. In addition, lift up the leaver (and thus the ball float) and watch to see what happens when the plug is opened up. If everything is working properly then the tank should refill without any problem.

When you are able to identify where the problem is located, you will then know what to work on. Each of the problems listed here typically have their own unique methods or ways of fixing them. Most of these methods are fairly easy, and will only take you a few minutes (at most) and a few dollars to do the repairs. That is, if you are willing to do the work yourself.

Author Bio

Lee Wyatt

Contributor of numerous Tips.Net articles, Lee Wyatt is quickly becoming a regular "Jack of all trades." He is currently an independent contractor specializing in writing and editing. Contact him today for all of your writing and editing needs! Click here to contact. ...


Replacing a Three-Way Switch

Chances are you may have a three-way switch in your home without even realizing it. Three-way switches are those light ...

Discover More

Proper Pruning Tools

Pruning is an important part of taking care of your trees, flowers, shrubs, and general landscape. However, it is next to ...

Discover More

Backyard Landscaping

If you have a backyard, then chances are you have at least been tempted to experiment with a little bit of landscaping. ...

Discover More

Find the Right Tool Right Away Finally, a homeowner's set that includes all the tools needed to complete basic DIY projects at an affordable price! The tools are stored in a molded case for security and portability. Check out Stanley 65-Piece Homeowner's Tool Kit today!

More Home Improvement Tips

Installing Low-Flow Toilets

Compared with the nearly 7 gallons of water it takes to flush a pre-1993 toilet, low-flow toilets take a mere 1.6 gallons ...

Discover More

Stop Your Toilet from Sweating

One of the more common problems that you can find around a toilet is called sweating. In severe cases this can make you ...

Discover More

Repairing a Running Toilet

Perhaps the single most common plumbing problem in the bathroom is to have a running toilet. Repairing a running toilet ...

Discover More

FREE SERVICE: Receive an e-mail several times each week with a featured home improvement tip. Enter your address and click "Subscribe."


If you would like to add an image to your comment (not an avatar, but an image to help in making the point of your comment), include the characters [{fig}] (all 7 characters, in the sequence shown) in your comment text. You’ll be prompted to upload your image when you submit the comment. Maximum image size is 6Mpixels. Images larger than 600px wide or 1000px tall will be reduced. Up to three images may be included in a comment. All images are subject to review. Commenting privileges may be curtailed if inappropriate images are posted.

What is seven less than 7?

There are currently no comments for this tip. (Be the first to leave your comment—just use the simple form above!)


FREE SERVICE: Receive an e-mail several times each week with a featured home improvement tip. Enter your address and click "Subscribe."

(Your e-mail address is not shared with anyone, ever.)